Returning flood victims face difficult choices | Bangkok Post: learning

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Returning flood victims face difficult choices

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Residents returning to their flood-damaged homes worry that their efforts to restore their homes to their original condition may be may be wiped out by the next flood. 

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Residents of Chaiyapruek housing estate in Nonthaburi’s Bang Bua Thong district sift through piles of belongings from their damaged houses as they recover from the floods that swamped the district for more than a month. CHANAT KATANYU


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Picking up the pieces

Pakawat Sunpituksaree

Residents returning home after the floods lack the confidence to restore their houses fully to their original states.

Many residents of Chaiyapruek and Cholada housing estates in Bang Bua Thong district of Nonthaburi began the lengthy clean-up process after the floods receded last week.

Bakery instructor Nirawan Sribunmee, 48, and her three sons slowly combed through their belongings sorting out items not damaged by the flood.

She had moved into the new house barely two months before the floods hit. She said she was still somewhat lucky as she had not yet moved all her belongings to the new house and she was able to save much of her furniture, including a 400,000-baht grand piano.

But her newly decorated garden and her prized kitchen were badly hit. The floodwater killed all of her plants and ruined the built-in cabinets, wooden furnishings, stove, oven and electrical goods in the kitchen.

Her worst problem, however, was a mould colony growing on all the walls and many other surfaces.

Faced with extensive repairs and uncertainty over the next potential flood, Ms Nirawan had decided not to install anything but the bare necessities on the ground floor.

"I won't be buying too many things to put there, just the things to get you by and that's it," she said.

Ukos Khongsompong, 45, an employee at PTT Exploration and Production Plc, said the damage to his home was more severe due to the fact that his family has been in the housing estate for more than 10 years and they did not have a chance to save anything from the flooding.

He said they were caught off-guard because of several factors. First, they had never suffered a flood anywhere near this magnitude. Second, they thought the estate's defences would hold. Lastly, they were forced to move closer to work when the main road in front of the estate was flooded, making it inaccessible to smaller vehicles. During his absence, mould wreaked havoc on Mr Ukos' house and his belongings to the extent that he had to hire a professional cleaning crew to clean the building. He also decided to throw away all his affected belongings, even if they had been cleaned, to ensure the mould threat was completely eradicated.

Echoing the thoughts of many flood victims, Mr Ukos has decided not to put anything unnecessary on the ground floor again.

"I am going to leave it empty," he said. "We would like to wait a year to see how it goes. If it does flood again, we would likely knock down the whole house and build a stilt house instead."

He said the flooding makes it hard to restore the house with confidence, and selling is also not an option because the price would be lower now. He said to adapt and learn how to live with the water is the best approach and he believes a stilt house would be a worthwhile one-time investment.

He thanked the management of the estate for posting flood updates online as well as guarding abandoned homes.

residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
housing estate – residential estate; an area containing a large number of houses or apartments built close together at the same time บ้านจัดสรร
sift – to examine something very carefully in order to decide what is important or useful or to find something important ค้นหา  
pile – objects positioned one on top of another กอง
belongings – the things you own ข้าวของเครื่องใช้
swamped – covered with a large amount of water ท่วม, จมอยู่ในน้ำ
lack – to not have something needed  ขาด
confidence – the quality of being certain ความมั่นใจ
restore – to bring back to good condition ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
original – existing at the beginning of a particular period, process or activity เดิม
state – condition สภาพ
lengthy – very long ที่ยืดยาว
process – a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
recede – to move back; to move further away into the distance; subside ลดลง, ถอยหลัง
bakery – a place where bread and cakes are made and/or sold ร้านขนมปัง,โรงทำขนมปัง
comb – to search a place or an area very carefully in order to find something ค้นหาอย่างละเอียด
sort – to arrange things in groups or in a particular order according to their type, etc; to separate things of one type from others จัดเข้าประเภท, แยกประเภท
barely – only just เกือบจะ
decorate – to make something look more attractive by putting nice things on it or in it ประดับ, ตกแต่ง
prized – very valuable to somebody มีค่า
ruin – to damage something so badly that it loses all its value, pleasure, etc; to spoil something ทำลาย
cabinet – a piece of furniture with doors, drawers and/or shelves, that is used for storing or showing things  ชั้นหรือตู้วางของ
furnishings – the furniture, carpets, curtains, etc. in a room or house เครื่องเรือน,เครื่องตกแต่งบ้าน
stove – a machine or a piece of equipment that provides heat for cooking or heating a room  เตาทำอาหาร, เตาให้ความพร้อม
oven – the part of a cooker/stove shaped like a box with a door on the front, in which food is cooked or heated  เตาอบ
mould – a fine soft green, grey or black substance like fur that grows on old food or on objects that are left in warm wet air รา, เชื้อรา
colony – a group of plants or animals that live together or grow in the same place กลุ่ม
surface – the outside or top layer of something  ผิวหน้า, ผิวภายนอก, ด้านนอก
extensive – wide; great in amount covering a large area กว้าง,ครอบคลุม,ถ้วนทั่ว
repairs – the process of fixing something that is broken or damaged การซ่อมบำรุง
uncertainty – something that you cannot be sure about; a situation that causes you to be or feel uncertain  ความไม่มั่นใจ (ต่อเหตุการณ์ ชะตาชีวิต ฯลฯ),  ความรู้สึกไม่แน่ใจ
potential – possible เป็นไปได้
bare – just enough; the most basic or simple
necessities – things you must have in order to live, work, or do something สิ่งจำเป็น
get by – to manage to live or do a particular thing using the money, knowledge, equipment, etc. that you have พอใช้การได้, อยู่ต่อ
employee – someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation ลูกจ้าง
severe – very serious and unpleasant รุนแรง
due to – because of เนื่องจาก
caught off-guard – to be surprised by something unexpected ตกตะลึง, งงงันม เผลอ
factor – a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
suffer – to experience something very unpleasant or painful ประสบ
magnitude – size or strength  ขนาดหรือ ความรุนแรง
defences – the particular structures, weapons, and people that are used for protecting a place การป้องกัน,การต้านการรุกราน
inaccessible – difficult or impossible to reach ซึ่งเข้าไม่ถึง
absence – a period of time when a person is not present at work, at school, at home, etc. ช่วงเวลาที่ไม่อยู่, ช่วงการขาดงาน
wreak havoc – to cause something bad to happen in a violent and often uncontrolled way ทำให้เกิดความเสียหายอย่างรุนแรง, ทำให้เกิดความหายนะ
hire – to pay someone to work for you, especially for a short time จ้าง
ensure – to make certain that something happens or is done  ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
threat – a danger อันตราย
eradicate – to get rid of completely or destroy something bad กำจัดจนหมดสิ้น
echo – to express the ideas or feelings that someone else has expressed  กล่าวซ้ำ
victim – someone who has been affected by a bad situation, such as a disaster, illness or an accident เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
stilts – a set of posts that a house is built on to raise it above the ground or above the level of water เสาค้ำ
option – a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก
adapt – to change to suit different conditions or uses ทำให้เข้ากับ, ปรับตัว
approach – a way of doing or dealing with something การจัดการกับปัญหา
worthwhile – useful, important or good enough to be a suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made คุ้มค่ากับความพยายาม
investment – the act of investing money in something การลงทุน
post – to send information, in this case, to a website
update – the most recent information or news about something ข้อมูลใหม่ๆ
guard – to watch a place carefully to protect someone from attack, to prevent something from being stolen, or to prevent someone from escaping เฝ้ายาม, ดูแล, รักษาความปลอดภัย
abandoned – left alone by someone ถูกปล่อยทิ้งไว้

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